A highly volatile situation was witnessed in the whole of Senapati town in Manipur on Monday affecting normal life severely for a brief period following the detention of leaders of All Naga Students’ Association, Manipur (ANSAM) by 34 Assam Rifles. They were released later but only after the furious Naga public intervened.
According to reports, at around 2 pm on Monday, ANSAM president Seth Shatsang, finance secretary of the association Joseph Adani and executive secretary AC Thotso were ‘arrested’ by the Assam Rifles personnel from Taphou area of Senapati town. Reports said that volunteers of United Naga Council (UNC) and ANSAM were enforcing the economic blockade when the incident happened.
ANSAM president Seth Shatsang informed Newmai News Network that they had been noticing trucks with the label ‘On Army Duty’ plying along the highway which they realized later on that they were ‘fake’ labels. These trucks often tail the army convoy, Seth Shatsang further alleged. The ANSAM president clarified that military/army convoys do not come under the purview of the economic blockade. “However, we will not allow those trucks with fake labels,” he asserted.
On Monday at around 2 pm the economic blockade supporters halted some trucks travelling along with an army convoy. This had prompted the blockade supporters to examine those trucks. However, in no time the 34 Assam Rifles personnel came from Henbung post and whisked away the ANSAM leaders from the area.
On learning about the incident, Naga frontal organization leaders and the public rushed to the Henbung Assam Rifles post and intervened. The three ANSAM leaders were released shortly later. Back in Senapati town, as the news of the detention of the ANSAM leaders spread, all the shops and other business establishments promptly closed. In no time, a large number of people gathered at the traffic point in the heart of the town and held a meeting on the matter.
Sources quoting Assam Rifles sources revealed that the incident happened due to a communication gap. After the release of the ANSAM leaders, they were taken to Senapati traffic point where a public meeting was held . The ANSAM president addressed the gathering there on the incident.
The Tangkhul Katamnao Saklong (TKS) has come out strongly against the detention of Seth Shatshang and the two office bearers of ANSAM, finance secretary Joseph and education secretary AC Thotso.
“Had it not been for the timely intervention of the Naga people, it would have been unpredictable as to what would have come of it,” said TKS in a statement. ‘The action of the Assam Rifles shows nothing but complete disregard for the ongoing Naga movement,” said the student body and condemned the detention of the ANSAM leaders.